Jericho-Mania hits Windsor
This weekend, Chris Jericho returns to wrestling… sort of. The first Undisputed Champion is making his first foray back into the wrestling business with a personal appearance at Stars of the Game in Windsor, Ontario, part of a multiple-date tour of appearances.
On Thursday the 29th, Jericho takes his band Fozzy on stage at The Roxy. Both events are a chance for fans to get up close and personal with Jericho. There is also an “Ultimate Chris Jericho” experience where fans can watch RAW in a VIP room with Jericho as well as a ticket to the Fozzy show.
“People are very loyal and every day people recognize me and come up and say hello. That is what prompted me to want to do this on a personal basis. Even though I haven’t been in wrestling it isn’t like I have dropped off the face of the earth, as much as many people would have liked to have seen me do that,” Jericho told SLAM Wrestling from his home in Tampa, Florida.
Since his final WWE matches at SummerSlam 2005 and on RAW against John Cena Jericho has hardly been out of the spotlight. Jericho starred in the play Opening Night in Toronto and the film Android Apocalypse and has made several appearances with the Los Angeles improvisational troupe The Groundlings and his former XM Radio show The Rock of Jericho. A variety of different genres all based in his wrestling background.
”Theatre, Groundlings and Fozzy is very similar to wrestling because it is in front of a live audience and you get the instant gratification of the live crowd, there is something to be said for that. With the movies and TV pilot I have done it is very different because you have different takes and don’t get a sense of it until you see the final outcome. We are like Shakespeare in wrestling, it is like show business boot camp you learn a little bit of everything. That is what prepared me to do so well in these different genres is that I learned everything I know in the wrestling ring. How to make people love you or hate you, how to entertain them, have a good time, how to improvise. All of those skills come into fruition when you do any of these other things,” he said. “Wrestling is entertainment first and foremost. A lot of people don’t realize that this is showbiz and we are showmen. You have to put on a great show for people to enjoy themselves. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are or how many moves you can do, you have to make people care about what you are doing in any type of showbiz environment. I have used that attitude and mantra in everything that I do.”
In addition to acting, Chris Jericho the singer appeared on the Television show Celebrity Duets in August of 2006. The show, which featured other celebrities like Lucy “Zena” Lawless, Alphonso Ribiero (Carlson in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) and Queer Eye’s Jai Rodriguez team up with singers like Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Chaka Kahn and Kenny Loggins. While Jericho was eliminated the first night, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
”Obviously it didn’t turn out the way I wished and it was a drag to be kicked off first, but other than that I wouldn’t change anything. I am a huge fan of music and am a music historian. I got the chance to sing with Peter Frampton and Little Richard and hang out with Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight. These are some of the most legendary hall of fame vocalists of all time. To hang out and hear their stories was a great experience and I am really glad I did it.”
Jericho also performed a duet with country singer Lee Ann Womack, a different territory for the self-proclaimed “rock god.”
”I would much rather have done a duet with (Kiss’) Paul Stanley or (Metallica’s) James Hetfield or Paul McCartney or Sting rather than Lee Ann Womack, which is not really what I am into.”
While pursuing his other career, Jericho is constantly asked if he is returning to the ring. He isn’t alone as Jim Ross frequently is asked about Jericho’s status on his website, and his name frequently pops up on message boards. Even after a year and a half away, it is evident that fans still clamour for Jericho. The attention is flattering.
”It is huge for me and exciting too. When I left the WWE I really had no choice. While I was very fortunate that I had never had any big injuries or time off and had a full-time job for fifteen years straight I was very mentally burnt out on the business. In the past year, I realized just how proud I was. I couldn’t have stuck around in the business in the way that my mindset was. Now I feel a lot more healed. I just wrote my memoirs, (A Lions Tale, coming out this fall) which helped me find where I was at in my life and my career. Even though at one point I thought I never would, I never said that I wouldn’t come back and it is nice to know that people want me to.”
One thing you shouldn’t expect is the “Y2J Wrestling School.”
”I don’t think so. It is a certain breed of person that is able to do that. Lance Storm is a great trainer; he was training guys when he was one year into the business. He has an aptitude for that; he is very patient and blunt. I would recommend anybody who wanted to get into the business to go to the Lance Storm Wrestling Academy. For me personally, if I am going to be wrestling I am going to be in the business. If not I have my band and have been doing my acting and there is a whole bunch of things going on. If I am going to be in the wrestling business I am going to go hard or go home.”
As Jericho sets out on tour to meet his fans at conventions and personal appearances, it reminds him of how important his Jerichoholics have been to his career. Chris Jericho has always been someone that has been very approachable for autographs.
“I always took pride in the fact that when I was working, if I was a heel, everybody hated me, as a babyface it was a different story. However, off the field, I was and still am a wrestling fan. I appreciate the fact that people are appreciative and influenced by what I do. I used to wait outside of the hotel in Winnipeg and get autographs and take pictures with the wrestlers at Gold’s Gym. For me to meet other people who have been influenced and think the job that I do is good and gave them some semblance of entertainment and joy, that is a big thing. For about a year and a half, I specifically didn’t want to do anything and laid low. The reason why I want to do these signings is that I appreciate the fans and the fact that I was able to influence and entertain them. The dream of my entire life was to be a pro wrestler and I achieved that. It is nice to know people still dig and respect that,” he said before ending the interview in typical Y2J fashion. “I like meeting the fans so I am excited about seeing everyone and have them tell me how great I am, put me on a pedestal and treat me like the role model, hero, and paragon of virtue to millions that I am.”
Jason Clevett first met Chris Jericho in a Calgary nightclub in 1997 and has been a die-hard Jerichoholic ever since.
Chris Jericho Road Tour 2007 Dates
Mar 24 Saginaw, MI Fashion Square Mall 4-6p
Mar 25 Taylor, MI Gilbraltor Trade Center 1-3pm
Mar 26 Windsor, Ont Stars Of The Game 8-12pm
Apr 13 Parsippany, NJ Chiller Theatre Horror Expo 6-11pm
Apr 14 Parsippany, NJ Chiller Theatre Horror Expo 11am-7pm
Apr 15 Parsippany, NJ Chiller Theatre Horror Expo 11am-5pm
Apr 28 Carteret, NJ Legends Of The Ring 9am-3pm
Apr 29 East Islip, NY Amvets Hall 1pm-3pm